So TiVo recently announced that “they’re going to run banner ads when you fast forward through ads”:http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/la-et-tivo17nov17,1,7409270.story. The “blogosphere”:http://www.pvrblog.com/pvr/2004/11/tivo_to_add_ban.html “went”:http://www.brianbehrend.com/archives/2004/11/tivo_to_add_ban.php “wild”:http://battellemedia.com/archives/001050.php, not least becase of the LA Times’ inflammatory headline, “TiVo Will No Longer Skip Past Advertisers”.
TiVo is all about the next generation of TV watching, so it’s natural that, during the product’s evolution, there will be changes, and these changes will make some people uncomfortable. But this seems like an authencally good idea, with little downside for either viewers or advertisers.
All PVRs (or DVRs), including TiVo, make advertisers scared, for two reasons:
* PVRs let users fast-forward through ads, thereby ignoring marketing prodtimeucts that cost millions of dollars to produce and place
* PVrs let users watch TV shows at unexpected times (“-shifting”), which can mess with demographic predictions
Viewers love PVRs, because:
* PVRs let viewers fast-forward through ads
* PVRs let viewers watch shows when they want to watch shows
Clearly, we have two stakeholders whose interests are in complete opposition, right? Maybe not, if we think about what these stakeholders actually want, when it comes to ads.
* Advertisers want viewers to attend to, and retain, their ads
* Viewers want their desired content to be interrupted as little as possible while they watch TV
That second one is very important. It’s not about ads, per se, for viewers; it’s simply that viewers, quite naturally, want to see their show uninterrupted. Who actually likes interruptions? Users don’t fast-forward because they hate ads, users fast-forward because they hate being taken away from their desired content. Most of these fast-forwarding users happily watched 30-minute ads for products like GI Joe, The Transformers, He-Man, “Captain Power”:http://www.captainpower.com/, and other products like that; in those cases, the ads were the content, and nobody complained or tried to skip them simply because they were being sold to.
The fast-forward banner ad does a good job of fulfilling both advertisers’ and viewers’ needs. Viewers get minimal interruption. Advertisers get an ad that will be closely-attended as the user focuses on fast-forwarding only through the ads and not through the show. This is a great solution for a new way of advertising.